More and more Swiss are dumping rubbish in France
French communes are fighting back as the number of Swiss residents crossing into France to dump their rubbish across the border continues to increase.
Because domestic rubbish bags are taxed in Switzerland - except in Geneva - residents near the French border have become used to driving across to dump them in France.
According to customs official records from 2017, the problem is getting worse, with over ten tonnes of Swiss rubbish recorded last year.
One mayor, Jean-François Jodon, of Verrière-de-Joux (Doubs) said that in the past two or three years, he has seen more and more cars with Swiss number plates blatantly leaving bags of rubbish in French skips and even domestic bins - sometimes even directly outside the Mairie.
Sometimes, they will recycle and sort their rubbish; other times, they will dump and leave, ignoring any rules or sorting.
While communes are often powerless to stop the phenomenon, some are fighting back with subtle methods to dissuade the practice.
In Bois d’Amont (Jura), the town’s two major rubbish collecting areas are under surveillance, and cleaning times are carefully scheduled so they “just happen” to coincide with the times that have been identified as likely to see an increase in Swiss visitors.
In the 43 communes of the pays de Maîche, town centre rubbish bins are locked with a padlock, and only residents of the nearby town centres have access to keys.
However, Mr Jodon, of Verrière-de-Joux, is realistic about how much France can do about the problem.
He said: “We do not have many options. Everyone will always be able to just drop their rubbish in the street or even in the wild. The best thing is to talk to them [the Swiss] about it, and shame them [to try to stop them].”
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